Mach Goes Commando


August 1 - 6th September 2015


One of Scotland's best known and most innovative sculptors and installation artists David Mach is opening an exhibition of work at An Talla Solais, Ullapool, inspired by the comic books of his childhood.  

Mach, a Turner Prize nominee, has lovingly plundered the long-running Commando comic books published by DC Thomson which he collected as a child and reassembled them with humour and skill to produce more than fifty collage pieces which both celebrate and rework the original.

He says that Commando, with its gung-ho action stories, includes artwork of such exceptional quality that it made a lasting impression on him. “In Scotland we expect drawing standards from our 'comics' that other nations aspire to in their Fine Art....The Italian Renaissance had the Borgias, Scottish illustration has the Thomsons.”

“I think I was really affected by the drawing! The quality of the drawing in all of these comics and publications was really high. DC Thomson’s artists were of an exceptionally high calibre. That company went to a lot of bother to produce their comics.....they were inspirational and are still inspirational now,” he adds.

Mach is renowned for his large sculptures, installation pieces and public works. His welded-steel 'Big Heids' gaze out across the M8 motorway, the 130ft 'Brick Train' in Darlington is a colossal celebration of the city's railway heritage and the 20ft 'Die Harder' depicts the crucifixion using thousands of coat hangers.

Rachel Grant, ATS Exhibitions Coordinator, says that the work can be enjoyed by young and old alike. “We're delighted to welcome this exhibition to the Highlands. It has a really broad appeal. Many will remember Commando fondly from their childhoods but the work also introduces a new generation to these much-loved comics in a way that is fresh, playful and inventive.”

David Mach was born in Methil, Fife, in 1956. He studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design then, after graduating, at the Royal College of Art. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1988 and joined the Royal Academy of Arts in London as Professor of Sculpture in 2000.

Mach will visit Ullapool during August to give a public talk on his creative process at the newly-opened Ullapool Ferry Terminal and to hold two collage workshops for pupils at Ullapool High School and for adults. He has often said that collage-making remains an integral part of his working methods even when creating large sculptures.

In addition, DUFI-ART – an artists/designers collaborative based in Tain, Ross-shire - will also be in residence from the end of July working on a response to Mach Goes Commando. Their work will be unveiled to coincide with David Mach's visit.

The project is supported by funding from Creative Scotland and The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool.

David Mach's talk on the creative process will be held at Ullapool Ferry Terminal on the 20th of August. Tickets are £3 or free for under-18s.